Sometimes it’s back to Square One, kinda….

I will continue the tale of getting settled in Florida. Now, I am here, have the blow-up bed and the lawn chair, and the walls are butt ugly. That has to change.

First, I get estimates to take down the wallpaper and paint the walls. You gotta be kidding me. $5000. No way. Better yet, the contractor (yes, a man with a storefront and references) changed the price six (that’s right, 6) times before we ended the conversation. He went down to $2800. Reasonable, but not a deal. Did not care that I could talk my way down that much and wondered what kind of a businessman he was. I got more estimates. Rather, desperate estimates — one man called me every other hour to see if he got the job. Finally, I had to say no just because he was smothering me. I wanted Dan my handyman back, but he moved to south Florida a year before me. I wanted someone like Dan. Someone who would charge a decent price and in return, I would get a decent finished project; someone I could trust, and where I knew that the job would be a good one. I just knew somewhere in my part of Florida this person existed.

So, I took a chance on a young fella (who was also desperate). The paint job was a good one — okay, it was an average one. But then, I was not looking for anything beyond a basic paint job. Only problem was, he was not neat. In the end, he splattered paint everywhere. To make ugly carpet worse, oh well, it was going to get changed. The walls were painted and the little flowers were gone from the kitchen. Fairly content.

In between time, I decide that the ugly, old linoleum in the kitchen and bathroom has to go. The young man sells me on the idea that he has gone to carpentry school for four years, and he knew how to lay laminate flooring. So, before all the rooms were finished being painted, I had him start changing the floors for those two rooms. And he did know how to lay the laminate, but he did not know how to finish the floors, like miter corners or use caulk. I tried to explain to him what the finished product should look like, but I don’t think he liked that too much. Oh, what a mess I had. And he said he would be back to clean up and to finish up.

He never came back. Didn’t answer his phone, and I knew I was had.

I felt I was back to square one, back to the beginning, only now I had a real bed, a couple of real chairs, and painted walls and half-done floors. So, there was a little progress. But, I felt, I needed to start over with the floors.

I was getting to know the area a little better, saw there was an interior design workshop and signed up. Very good move on my part. I had the designer come to my house and take a look, give me some guidance. And I found some furniture, so my house was being furnished slowly.

I wasn’t necessarily back to the drawing board, but I did feel very unsettled. My designer, Denise, did help.

Another contractor came over to give me bids on other projects that I wanted to do (he never called back, never got the numbers to even consider other projects), but I did make contact with a flooring guy (storefront, lots of years in business) and I had him come to the house. He straightened out some of the flooring problems, and I hired him to put white (unbelievably beautiful) laminate flooring in three rooms and the foyer. And the bathroom floor (that was just replaced) was replaced again with tile.

Progress. I started going to a ceramic class. I was out of the house.

Almost. The floor is finished, beautiful and I am very, very pleased. But the guy that was subcontracted to put in the tile didn’t do a very good job with the walls. Don’t get me wrong, the tile is great, a wonderful job, but I asked for new baseboards and once done, he took some of the wall with the baseboards. Of course, he did not make it right.

So, another fight to fight. But, I’m really tired of working on this house. I have furniture, the walls are painted, and the 3 rooms are beyond my expectations.

Sometimes I felt I took two steps forward and went one back, but it was not the reverse, where I took one step forward and two back. Progress is being made. One day the whole shebang will be done, you know the whole enchilada, the whole kit and caboodle, the whole ball of wax, but for the moment…

I have had my first stain glass class, joined a writer’s club, a genealogy club, continue with ceramics, walk most days, meet new people, explore, do some chalk painting, and write. I am writing again. It feels good. And I have plain walls and a couple of beautiful floors.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Moving is not for the faint-of-heart

About a year ago, I decided to move from Illinois to Florida. I had no idea what I was getting myself into!

Initially, I thought I would simply sell my house, find another house, and go and live my life. Ha – Ha. Last April, I started clearing out my house, downsizing, packing and pitching. I was ready for a new beginning in a new house in a new town in a new state. My niece helped me pack what I wanted to take, and I rented a storage unit to make my house clutter-free for the sale. Exhausting but manageable. Then, the house sold. Quickly. I don’t think I was ready for that quick of a sale. And definitely not for the closing some four weeks later. And that is when the panic set in.

My open house was in mid June, last year. I knew the next week that a young couple was interested, but their house had to sell and they had not even put it on the market. I figured I had time. Their house was immediately put on the market and it sold within two weeks. I had four weeks to close on the sale. Maybe I should rephrase that. I had four weeks to empty out my house, find a house in Florida, and move. Moving belongings is one thing, but then there are doctors, dentists, bankers, businesses, and friends, don’t forget the friends and family that need to be aware of the move. In four weeks. And all the necessary appointments for the sale of the house.

I made a quick run to Florida to find a house. I knew where I wanted to be, just needed to find a house. And I left Florida thinking I had a house. But within the eight hours it took to cross the state line, I learned I lost the house to a cash buyer. Okay, I had house Number 2 as a back up. Three hours later I found that that house also went to a cash buyer. Okay. I went online, and selected house Number 3; sight unseen, I put in a bid. I needed a home to call my own. And I got it.

By now, I was in Illinois, and had only a few weeks until closing. A friend’s son is a mortgage broker, so he helped. Let me rephrase that. He started and completed the loan within a few weeks. Unheard of. But, it happened. By this time, I was working around the clock, the mortgage broker was working around the clock, and my niece was helping. I also had to find a mover. And I had no idea on that one.

I considered my grandson, but he was working and he lived in another town, and I had no idea what I was doing. So, friends of mine knew someone else who was moving out-of-state and told me about a mover. Okay. I had to do something. In between time, I could put everything in storage. There were two units by now. I contacted the mover, and finished up clearing out the house for the closing.

If you could have only seen me the day of the closing! I was a crazy lady. At the end, I neither had the boxes nor the will to continue packing, so I put everything I could into my car. Friends came over, and they packed their car with my belongings. I had only a few hours until closing. Finally, at the end, there was no room in either car, and I simply bagged the rest and put it ready for the garbage. (The new owners said I could do that). I had a full car, took a quick shower. Couldn’t find my hair dryer, couldn’t find my shoes, and did not have clean clothes. I went to close on my house, and we all laughed through the closing. I do have a sense of humor.

I was officially homeless. Friends gave me a room and food, and after two nights I left for Florida to close on the sight-unseen house. In between time, the cars’ contents were emptied into the storage units.

Oh-ho. The house had the square footage, but all the walls were pink. Pink. And there were little flowers on wallpaper that was unraveling on the walls. Carpet needed to be replaced. Cabinets were old. I wanted to cry. What did I get myself into?

I signed the papers, emptied my car, found a bank, turned on the electricity. And I went back to Illinois

Staying with the same friends, I returned to the storage units to pack the items that were emptied from the cars on the day I closed on my Illinois house. I had one week before the movers came. And, after seeing the movers, I realized that if I would have rented a truck to move myself, I had too much to put into the size of truck I would have selected. At least everything would be together.

The middle of September, I was on my way to my new house, my new town, my new state. I was very, very tired.

But, it doesn’t end there. I had walls that needed to be painted, floors that needed to be cleaned or replaced, furniture that needed to be bought  (I started with a blow-up bed and a lawn chair). Somehow, today enough is done for me to stop for a while and get back to my life. Writing. Yay!!! And being creative, chalk painting furniture, painting ceramics and learning stain glass techniques. I am here. I am where there is sun most days of the year. Where there is no snow to shovel. Where there is an entire state to explore. Change is good. I may not be an adventurer, but I am not faint-of-heart. Would I do it again? You betcha. There’s nothing like change and a challenge. For me, it’s better than feeling safe only because life shows familiarity.

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

I confess, I am a piddler

There are a few people out there that are super focused and busy producing 24/7, but most people have their downtime, their piddling time, their fiddling time, their dallying time, their tinkering time, their puttering time. Whatever people want to call their time, I don’t think it’s a waste of time.

Personally, I piddle. I can piddle hours away at the computer or looking through magazines or old papers or sketching rooms of furniture or daydreaming and outlining stories to write. I think piddling is important. All my piddling is a precursor to actually doing “something”, whatever that “thing” is. Sometimes, I need to stop working so I can piddle for awhile. I think my brain can only go full speed for so long, then I have to stop. I have to piddle. I have to let my brain relax so I can continue with the work at hand.

Now, I am not a fiddler and I am not a tinkerer. I view people who fiddle or tinker as having some work at hand to examine it, try to fix a broken piece. I think some of our great inventors — from Edison to Einstein to Fermi — were tinkerers. The tinkerers of the labs. Webster states both words, fiddle and tinker, denote passing time aimlessly. I disagree. I believe that there may not be an aim in the fiddling or tinkering, but I believe with time the aimless becomes an aim. I can see Cartier tinkering with the inners of a watch or a mechanic tinkering with the inners of the motor. I do not see a doctor tinkering with the inners of a human body (or at least I hope not).

I am not a putterer either, but I know a lot of putterers, especially during spring, summer and fall. There are Debbie and Kathy and Sue, Jim and Doug and Dave — they all putter in their gardens. They deweed and plan and buy and plant and paint and build and putter away their time. But, wow, go by their houses and you can view some beautiful gardens or landscaping. Their puttering has been put to good use. Beauty use. They do not dawdle their time away or fritter about their puttering, they just putter in their gardens.

Dawdle and dally mean basically the same, and I am not a dawdler or a dallier. I don’t know many of these people. These are your loiterers, the people who simply hang out and do nothing, the couch potatoes, the people who have their back against the building holding the building up, the loiterers. Now, within the piddling, the puttering, the fiddling, the tinkering, we may have moments to dawdle or dally, but those are moments, not the piddling, puttering, fiddling, tinkering time to sort through, fix, or tend to. I probably dawdle in the morning, trying to get myself awake to start the day, and I may dally at night when I become the couch potato piddling with the computer. But, basically, I am a piddler. A happy piddler. Right now, I need to piddle.

Have a great day, a piddling I will go….

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

To text or not to text

2good2bforgotten. I remember that text precursor — I was in grade school and we would fold a piece of paper to open with the words spelled on the folded parts. It was fun. Then, when my sister went to work, she was a whiz at shorthand and I would see all those squiggly marks on a piece of paper and wonder what they all meant. Later, when I studied Journalism and then worked in the field, I made up my own abbreviations so I could take as many notes and quotes as my hand could write. Now, I drive down the road and look at license plates and try to figure out what the letters could mean. It’s fun, and probably the result of all those road trips the family took when I was young when we would call out letters or words we saw on billboards as we went down the highway,

Then there is today or should I write 2day. I will say that I probably text more than I call because sometimes I just need to ask a question or make a comment, and I know once I get on the phone there is at least a 30-60 minute conversation, so I text, unless if I have the time to converse or the topic warrants a conversation. Usually, though, my conversations entail a f2f that also includes food and :-D or LOL.

I remember the first time I was aware of text symbols — I was reading some trash mag and Paris Hilton was fighting with her BFF Nicole Richey. I thought BFF meant best female friend until I started seeing the males use it. I was saying to myself, these are not girls, so BFF does not mean best female friend. After research, I found it means best friends forever. Whew! Got that one. And I do not feel alone after watching a recent commercial on the tele where this one man is trying to figure out what the IDK means on his phone. His neighbor pipes in and says, “I don’t know” with the original guy saying, “I don’t know either”.

There’s a whole new way to converse today, and it is called texting. I have heard that students are trying to incorporate the text symbols into their school papers, but so far, they are unacceptable (and I hope 4e). I have seen the texting in the written word, I have heard the abbreviations in conversation (BRB) and I will assume that if not already, there will be text words assimilated into the English language dictionary. I will have 2CIO and report BTU.

If you are interested in learning more texting symbols, I found a huge list on http://www.netlingo.com, and some on http://www.mob1le.com. You will find mom is a 303, and 9 is parent watching while a 99 is a parent no longer watching. You can spell an angel as o:-) or maybe you are playing around and need to stick out your tongue, :-P. Of course, when you want to be heard you can :@ from the rooftops, but please do not be %-} when you are on that roof or u may fall off. I was under the impression that 7K meant 7,000 but today it means “sick”, and I am way too old to say A3.

IOW, have a GR8 day, and you can always give me your 02 or (m.02) FWIW. LOL.

 

On another note (completely unrelated but for my love of words) the H2 channel will continue with the series “America’s Slang” this Saturday night.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Times have changed

Wow! I had not realized it has been this long since I posted. I have been taking care of business, which turned out to be more involved than I anticipated, but now all is under control and once again I have time to write. Hope everyone is doing good and looking forward to a fantastic summer.

The seasons have changed as well as our language. Recently, I learned that English grammar rules have changed. My acceptance about this change did not come easy — actually, I yelled a little, talked about it to anyone who would listen (which very few would listen to my grammar rants), cried over all the rules I knew and was so proud to say I knew. Then after some time, begrudgingly, I started accepting the changes. For Pete’s sake! they decided to change grammar rules after 150 years, and it had to happen during my lifetime! I guess I will whine for days on end! Time will tell. So, if you know the new rules, I will not be insulted if you correct my grammar. I have decided that I am not going to take a class to learn the new rules; I am going to follow the old rules and leave the new rules to the young, the editors who make a living by knowing commas and capitalization and subject/verb agreement and pronoun reference and …etc ., etc., etc. That was my life then, now I will simply put words together to tell a story, to share information, and not worry about new rules. It  hurts my heart to say that, but I can change, I can be adaptable. I keep telling myself this, over and over. I am a broken record!

Whether we are aware of idioms or not, I used four in the above paragraph — “for Pete’s sake”, “days on end”, “time will tell”, and “a broken record”. I’ve always wondered who Pete was, and one night while I was watching a program on the History channel (one of my favorite channels) the narrator explained that the phrase “for Pete’s sake” references the Apostle Peter. So, now I know who Pete is, but could you imagine coming to a new country and trying to understand all those little phrases/idioms we have and what they actually mean and then now and again, throw in a name. Of course, “for Pete’s sake” is a term used when one is frustrated or annoyed, the same as “for crying out loud” or “for goodness sake”. No one is crying out loud and the word “sake” is not a goodness, but someone is frustrated with an outcome and since we live in America, we tag a saying with a feeling. How about I’m blue over you? Might as well add some color to the phrase.

Look at “time will tell”. I have never known time to tell anything except the hour of the day, but if I need to defer my understanding of an outcome, time will tell. In the course of life, sometimes a situation becomes clearer with time — time will tell. The word “time” is widely used in our language — do you have time to kill? It has nothing to do with murder, but everything to do with the blotting out of time because there is nothing to do at that moment in time — or maybe the time is ripe, I have time on my hands, or it’s the time of my life. Time marches on.

So does “days on end”. Now, what in the world does that mean? Since I am whining for days on end, I will need to whine continually for days without stopping. I do, just not out loud. My grammar rules changed, remember? But. I doubt if I will whine forever, which “on end” means forever,  “without end”. I will end the whining in my head someday when I truly realize that someone else can do my job teaching the rules of grammar.

There I go again, the “broken record”, going on and on and on about the rules, It’s like I’m stuck in a thought and I can’t get out — I’m a broken record. The record is not broken, my thought is stuck, broken, won’t move forward. I’ll need to pick up the pieces once time heals my wounds.

Have a great day!

 

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Rigmarole and all that Jazz

Not long ago I was discussing the college process with a freshman attending the U.of I. I mentioned that I was glad I was finished with all that rigmarole, and she just looked at me as if I spoke Klion. She had never heard the word, rigmarole — or, rather, how some people like to pronounce the word, rigamarole. — adding an extra syllable to feel the word move around and from the tongue. I explained that the word meant the annoying process of waiting in line, in this case, to register for a class, etc.only to be told to go to another line to wait there. Sounds like our motor registration office! Hurry up and wait. 

Actually, rigmarole is more than waiting in line, it is the long, complicated process of anything — from filling out applications for college, or a job or filing for disability or preparing your tax returns. If there is one thing you can count on it will be that you will feel frustrated and annoyed by the process. That is a guarantee.

Then, the conversation started me thinking. So many of our words are changing. Take the word “brood”. The first definition that comes to mind is a brood of kids, lots of kids. But, how many times have we heard or seen the word meaning “to think alone”. Yet, it is a definition, actually a verb for all those English majors out there. Personally, I brood on many subjects. An ingénue is that näive young girl who we simply refer to as a teen in today’s standard of language. By using the word ingénue, though, we are defining the young girl. I have never heard a teen girl being described as an ingénue, yet I know many who are näive. 

Sure, we do not use words like erstwhile (at one time) or wherewhital (the means), but they are a part of our language. For the time being. I am sure they will soon go to the obsolete pile.

An obsolete word includes chirography. This word, meaning the art of handwriting, is gone, and I can bet the actual art of handwriting is nearly obsolete. I wonder how often the elementary teachers teach cursive. Cursive is being replaced with the typing of words on a computer. But that is another story altogether. Going back to words — another word that is obsolete is “battologist” meaning someone who repeats the same thing needlessly. Today, the word is perseverate, repeating a word or phrase over and over. Different words, similar meanings. Either word, you will feel irrirtated when you have to listen to the speaker battologizing, perseverating for hours on end, battologizing, perseverating for hours on end, battologizing, perseverating for hours on end…

The point is that times are changing. Words are being added and deleted from the dictionary on a yearly basis. Today’s youths have never seen or heard some words, and since words are a source of communication, a receptor for intelligence, an inroad to higher education, they are important and should be weighed. At the very least, youth should be exposed to words, lots of words. And, maybe, just maybe, the next time the young college freshman hears rigmarole, she will know what it means. Exposure. Then, there is the New York Times. Exposure. 

Until next time…

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Scots-Irish and the Hillbilly

I am always looking for good programming on tv, and found “America’s Secret Slang” on the H2 channel. Since I love words, the title aroused my senses, and I had to watch. What followed is worth mentioning. In this blog I basically write about how we use words, cliches, idioms in our language; in this program, it explains where words come from, not emphasizing the etymology (origin of a word), but the story behind the word, like “cop”. This word is Irish, coming from the Celtic word, “ceap” which means “chief”, so our word cop is a word of respect in Irish language. A totally different connotation than how we use the word today!

Onward to the story of “hillbilly”. You will be surprised how this word came into being. According to Zach Selwyn, host of “American’s Secret Slang”, some men, farmers, who fought for King William III of Scotland against England in the late 17th century came from Ulster, Scotland, the lowlands. King William was nicknamed King Billy, and the men who fought for him were referred to as “Billy Boys”. 

After the war, the King wanted the Scots, his “Billy Boys”, to go to Ireland and convert the Irish to the Scottish Presbyterian religion, so off they went to Ireland. They tried but were never accepted by the Irish and did not succeed at converting the inhabitants from Catholicism, and eventually (after being labeled as Scots-Irish) fled to America. 

They did not fare better in America because word spread when they immigrated of what they attempted in Ireland. Once again, they moved from the east coast, this time to the Appalachians, the hills, and this is where they made their home. Remember the timing, this is the beginning of our nation, when land had to be cleared and houses built from the lumber they cut. So, our derogatory “hillbilly” was really a soldier for the King, who obeyed his King by going to another country to convert the inhabitants to a protestant religion. Instead of going home, which was filled with wars and rumors of wars, they continued to a new land called America. It wasn’t easy for them here, either, but they found a life in the hills around Tennessee, and they continued with their customs, their term of endearment, “Billy Boy”, and their music.

This music eventually gave us some great music and musicians — from Elvis to Hank Williams to Loretta Lynn to Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton. Today those Scots-Irish fiddles and banjos are assimilated into the music we know as country.

This program is worth watching. Usually, I do not promote a series, but this so correlates to what I do here that I had to share. I have looked to see when the next episode airs, and the shows I found (and recorded) were from the 2013 season. It looks like more will air in April, 2014, but I am not for sure. I will keep you posted, but in between time, if the series airs as reruns, they will be worth your watch.

Enjoy!

 

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized